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Epigenetics: Does childhood vulnerability affect sperm miRNA levels?

artist’s rendering of sperm/Fotolia

From ScienceDaily:

Exposure to early life trauma can lead to poor physical and mental health in some individuals, which can be passed on to their children. Studies in mice show that at least some of the effects of stress can be transmitted to offspring via environmentally-induced changes in sperm miRNA levels.

“The study raises the possibility that some of the vulnerability of children is due to Lamarckian type inheritance derived from their parents’ experiences,” said Larry Feig, Ph.D., professor of Developmental, Molecular and Chemical Biology at Tufts University School of Medicine and member of the Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology and Neuroscience programs at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts. Paper. (open access) – Dickson, D.A., Paulus, J.K., Mensah, V., Lem, J., Saavedra-Rodriguez, L., Gentry, A., Pagidas, K., and Feig, L. A. Reduced levels of miRNAs 449 and 34 in sperm of mice and men exposed to early life stress. Translational Psychiatry, 2018 DOI: 10.1038/s41398-018-0146-2 More.

If replicated, this type of finding will be another punch where it hurts for Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutations within the genome), because such changes may directly affect the physical reproduction of new generations.

No wonder Darwinians hated Lamarck. A plastic genome is a much more difficult tool to splinter lecterns with.

See also: Epigenetics: “[n]ew ideas closely related to Lamarck’s eighteenth-century views have become central to our understanding of genetics”

External testicles another instance of bad design?


Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!


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